Now that the court has thrashed the corruption charges levelled against NFF President, Amaju Melvin Pinnick and others, our football can have some breather and peace as we all heave a sigh of relief.
Can we please move forward now? In moving forward, we must be very fast having lost grounds given the circumstances and situation we found our football and ourselves in the last few months.
In moving fast, we must look at the bad press and ugly image this case has cast on our football which has scared away potential sponsors from investing in the NPFL, fund programs of the national teams at all levels and adequately prepared these teams for assignments at hand.
Yes, we failed to qualify for a couple of tournaments or championships. Yes, our clubs in the continent are not finding their feet among top clubs in apex competitions but we can make up by ensuring that the few representing the country. In the same vein, we should ensure that the U-23 Eagles currently in Egypt for the CAF U-23 AFCON fly highest and grab the ticket to Japan for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics Games. The domestic league should also be made attractive again.
I have a word for Amaju. You have fought your battles well. You have been fortunate to get off the hook. It is now time to build or rebuild or betterstill correct the mistakes of the past as no one is perfect. This is not a time to seek vengeance or make more enemies or to over celebrate your legal victory.
It is rather a time for sober reflection, a time for critical examination and a time for self screening. Look inwards for there basically lies all your troubles. Find a way of reducing the hangers on and sycophants around you for there are betrayals among them. Most of them are the ones inviting trouble to and for you.
Remember the adage that says, he who fetches ants infested firewood, invites lizards to his or her party. Show me your friends, they say and I will tell you who you are. These were the same guys who pulled the strings against you at CAF. It is the rat in the kitchen that informs snd invites the ones outside for a get-together.
However, there are also things you must tidy up especially when it comes to transparency and disbursements or ussge of funds. Come down from your “pinnacle of grace” to the level of the people you are serving. Yes, you are a public servant and must be humble and accessible with ears for and to all. It is believed that the drama of the past 12 months or so has humbled all involved. No one knows it all.
You can only improve and get better. This is another opportunity to right your wrongs and prove critics wrong. If Nigeria football is better, it is for all and sundry hence, we all feel concerned and sad once things go wrong. No one will call for your head if, things are smooth and fine. The crisis in the Super Falcons leading to the exit of the team from Tokyo 2020 Olympics could have been avoided or better managed. It is just one among several others like the allege threat to “blacklist” Super Eagles vice captain, William Troost-Ekong from the team for speaking for the players by making legitimate demands sometime ago.
You must find a way of resolving all these issues since God has put to rest the case against you in court. Desire Oparanozie should be recalled into the Super Falcons and her skipper’s armband returned to her. Those tearing our national teams apart especially the Super Falcons should be sent packing. The agents of doom should be eased off.
To all interested parties and groups, I appeal for the interest of Nigeria and our football, sheathe your swords and respect the court verdict. It’s a new dawn! Peace must reign now!
Congrats Amaju Pinnick!
By Desmond Ekwueme